AU: African Union

Topic A: Expanding the Capacity for Sustainable Tourism

Tourism now accounts for 10% of Africa’s combined GDP, and the number of tourists visiting the continent each year is projected to nearly double by 2030. However, the extreme spike in tourism will require increased national investment in infrastructure and transit networks while balancing a need for cultural preservation and environmental consciousness. Countries must also grapple with continental security, as even the perception of an unsafe environment can and will drive potential tourists to other destinations. Kenya and Mali, for example, face challenges in attracting tourists due to increased national instability, while the Egyptian economy--historically reliant upon tourism--has faced difficulties from travelers’ reluctance to visit in the aftermath of recent political upheaval. Debating this topic, the African Union must account for the varied needs of its member states, as some countries worry more about preserving their status as a touristic hub in the face of security challenges while others aim to increase their capacity for tourism in the first place. As such, debate will fundamentally revolve around the question: What role should tourism play in the pan-African economy?

Topic B: Mitigating the Resurgence of Maritime Piracy off African Coasts

Until 2015, the joint tactics undertaken by various African countries were thought to have addressed the issue of maritime pirate attacks on commercial shipping. However, within the last year ship hijackings have started to increase again, following the first pirate attack off Somali shores in five years. Since this attack, in March 2017, many more have followed. Due to the nature of international borders on the open ocean and the burden of shared responsibility in international waters, it falls to the African Union to protect the economies and sailors of those countries most affected by piracy. However, the African Union must also address the root causes of maritime piracy, and to do so, must turn to socioeconomic domestic issues in coastal countries. Unstable domestic conditions, such as the famines and conflicts experienced in Somalia and illegal fishing practices by international companies, are two of many factors that help explain why some turn to piracy as a means to survive. Due to the wide-ranging effects of maritime piracy, debate will have both a security dimension, as delegates examine means to effectively protect shipments and prosecute pirates, as well as an economic dimension, as delegates explore the effects of piracy on international trade on a macroeconomic level.